Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Definition of non-invasive method for quantification of skeletal muscle atrophy: from validation to application

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.10.03  Social sciences  Sport  Kinesiology - biomechanical, biometrical aspect 

Code Science Field
B580  Biomedical sciences  Skeleton, muscle system, rheumatology locomotion 

Code Science Field
3.03  Medical and Health Sciences  Health sciences 
Skeletal muscle, atrophy, hypertrophy, electromyography, tensiomyography
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (21)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  29345  PhD Tjaša Dimec Časar  Psychology  Researcher  2014 - 2016  74 
2.  21537  PhD Matjaž Divjak  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2014 - 2016  103 
3.  25787  PhD Mitja Gerževič  Sport  Researcher  2013 - 2016  101 
4.  21301  PhD Aleš Holobar  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2013 - 2016  493 
5.  27826  PhD Mihaela Jurdana  Neurobiology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  200 
6.  23936  Patricia Kompara    Technical associate  2014 - 2016 
7.  33307  PhD Katja Koren  Sport  Researcher  2013 - 2015  41 
8.  28285  Štefan Mally  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2013 - 2016  63 
9.  34516  PhD Uroš Marušič  Sport  Researcher  2013 - 2016  328 
10.  25432  PhD Nina Mohorko  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2013 - 2016  163 
11.  33881  PhD Shawnda Morrison  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2015 - 2016  189 
12.  34780  MSc Nika Pegan  Sport  Researcher  2014 - 2016 
13.  11612  PhD Rado Pišot  Sport  Researcher  2013 - 2016  994 
14.  32125  PhD Matej Plevnik  Sport  Researcher  2014  237 
15.  22439  PhD Petra Povalej Bržan  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2014  202 
16.  21495  PhD Nejc Šarabon  Sport  Researcher  2013  914 
17.  21102  PhD Boštjan Šimunič  Computer intensive methods and applications  Head  2013 - 2016  575 
18.  28390  PhD Suzana Todorović  Linguistics  Researcher  2014  234 
19.  35275  PhD Marko Vidnjevič  Anthropology  Researcher  2015  59 
20.  08061  PhD Damjan Zazula  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2013 - 2016  789 
21.  15626  PhD Dorjana Zerbo Šporin  Sport  Researcher  2014 - 2016  113 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0375  Community Healthcare Center dr. Adolf Drolc Maribor  MARIBOR  5054095  1,857 
2.  0796  University of Maribor, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science  Maribor  5089638003  27,340 
3.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,707 
Modern analysis of human working and living environment and of the most common causes of injuries and illnesses report 25% of incidence of muscle pain. In 49% the damage of musculoskeletal system causes the absence from work and as many as 60% causes sustained injuries. In the growing physical inactivity rate maintaining muscle mass is crucial to human health. Muscle atrophy is a well known phenomenon that defines the loss of muscle volume, as a result of illness or injury, unbalanced diet or lack of physical activity. Despite a number of researches exploring the findings of muscle atrophy and analyzing its implications, there are still many unresolved issues, especially in terms of objective indicators, methods and procedures of assessment. Today's procedures are complex, less sensitive, especially outside clinical cases, when it is important to detect even the slightest changes. In 1978, the relationship between the mechanical force response and neuromuscular electrical activity was proposed as an objective assessment method and as a measure of electromechanical efficiency. Due to the low sensitivity this method had very limited practical use. The essential shift took place in 1990 when the lateral vibrations of muscle fibers, instead of force, in the same ratio were studied and thus more appropriate assessment procedure for monitoring muscular atrophy was developed. Soon, the researchers again encountered barriers. Too low sensitivity and repeatability limited the use of the method only to severe clinical cases and chronic diseases. The idea of a non-invasive marker for assessing muscular atrophy has remained unstudied and abandoned to this day. In 1997 the Slovenian scientific space contributed significantly to this goal. The difficulties of assessment procedures and sensors measuring transversal mechanical muscle belly deformations (accelerometer, microphone, laser beam) were overcome by the proposed displacement sensor. The sensor presses the muscle belly through controlled contact and thus increases geometrical difference between relaxed and contracted muscle. This results in non-invasive and selective method, which is characterized by high sensitivity and repeatability. The method of monitoring the radial muscle belly movement has been validated, tested and patented. At the same time the method for detection of the surface neuromuscular electrical activity was upgraded and since 2004 it has allowed 2D monitoring of skeletal muscle on its whole surface and depth. In Slovenia patented method for decomposition of motor unit action potentials enables decomposition of the surface electromyogram and with it identification of the active motor units, recruitment assessment, muscle fatigue, etc. The main objective of the proposed project is to define and develop non-invasive procedure for assessing skeletal muscle atrophy and hypertrophy and to improve the current assessment procedures of muscular adaptation. Based on the mechanical response thickening, movement, vibration of muscle fibers as well as neuromuscular electrical activity, we will define the appropriate marker. Indirect objectives are aimed at modelling temporal dynamics of muscle adaptation on physical inactivity, aging, exercise, and rehabilitation after knee/hip artheroplasty. By developing the provided marker of muscle adaptation we will add a new service - test. The project will be conducted in accordance with the rules of carrying out experiments on human; with the permission granted by ethics commission, consents of the participants and in accordance with the rules of the Declaration of Helsinki. Upon successful completion of the project we anticipate a patents application, publication of several scientific articles, two PhD theses, and the creation of appropriate education program.
Significance for science
Researchers of the Institute for Kinesiology Research at the ZRS Koper, the applicant of the project, have been for many years involved in researches in the areas of space physiology, where they have been studying the effects of micro-gravity on humans. An important part of research was focused on the exercise physiology and environmental physiology, on the study of motor performance and working ability in interaction of man and the environment. Basic challenge of the applicant was in introducing new method in the field of skeletal muscle assessment. Research was based in previous slovenian method - named Tensiomyography, that was firstly mentioned in 1991 and first SCI publication arose in 1997. Up to date there was exactly 70 SCI publications published using TMG, only in last year 17 of them. That proofs the acceptance of TMG in wider scientific field for detecions of skeletal muscle contractile properties. During this project we further upgraded TMG to assure more accurate detection for higher quality of interpretation of assessed parameters of muscle contraction. Method will have also wider area of its use. In next years we expect further breakthrough in the field of epidemiology of aging, more accurately sarcopenia. Breakthrough will be also in the field of sensitive and accurate assessment of early preathrophic processess, that are very clinically important in the field of older adults, as anatomical atrophy is often irreversible. Furthermore, we expect breakthrough also in the fields of sport exercise and rehabilitation, as we already publiched first studies of sport exercise effects on athlete's performance. In 2015 we accrediated FIFA medical centre of excellence for systematic scientific and professional work in football. Important aspect is also in transdisciplinar transfer of knowledge using this method. That is evident in our publications that are most often published in medical or physiotherapy journals. That fact is very impoprtant for the promotion of the kinesiology and sport in clinical settings and medical diagnostics.
Significance for the country
Knowledge and technology transfer from research and educational institutions to the economy and to other users of knowledge is one important orientation of modern single European area. Poor health conditions of modern man encourage the need to promote integration and transfer of knowledge and technologies to health and medicine. EU guidelines (European calls HORIZON) encourage economy and research institutions to transfer knowledge to the areas of environmental sustainability and to human. The applicant of the project, ZRS Koper, Institute for Kinesiology Research, started the cooperation with economy upon its establishment and regularly participates in different projects. In the project we upgraded the diagnostic-research method of Slovenina origin. We studied the mechanisms of TMG assessed contractile parameters. These assured higher quality and validity of results interpretation. As every scientific method, also TMG needed after several time of existence this kind of basic and applied research, that will place the grounds for better work of its users: physicians, therapeuts, kinesiologists, sport trainiers. Additional proof is the basic research performed by Simunic et al. (2011) who explained one TMG derived parameter and the SCI publication arose from 1-4 annualy before 2011 to 6-17 annualy. Company TMG-BMC also began an educational programmes for TMG intersted audience, with already more than 40 completed, for three different levels of education. The applicant annually performs different social promotion activities in the field of kinesiology for the quality of life. The institute regularly carries out promotional measurements of sports clubs, sports departments of secondary schools, top and recreation sportsmen, etc. We believe that the direct use and the application of the knowledge into practice will contribute to the awareness of a broad mass of people of the importance of a harmonious movement, of the possible consequences of inadequate muscle adaptations and problems resulting from them. We will also contribute new knowledge to the education of relevant experts, who will be directly involved with the users (physiotherapists, coaches). It is certain that a newly educated staff from the study program Applied Kinesiology will certainly use the measurement equipment and integrate it in other fields of kinesiology, health and ergonomy. Promotion of Slovenia was achieved also with our long-term collaboration with FC Barcelona that recognises our technological solutions in 2015 by mention the method in their publication Muscle Injuies Clinical Guide. Afterwards we obtained an internationally accredited FIFA medical centre of excellence.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
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